Playoff Odds Comparison: FanGraphs vs. A Sportsbook

With the recent addition of the ZiPS projections to the present site, the playoff odds that are also available within these electronic pages now feature both the ZiPS and Steamer figures as the raw material for those calculations.

“How do those playoff odds compare, for example, to what might be offered by a notable sportsbook?” a weblogger with an interest in producing content might wonder. “Yes, how do those FanGraphs playoff odds compare to what’s offered by a sportsbook?” a reader might wonder, as well, as part of his or her attempt to locate a distraction from whatever work ought to be done right now.

The answer to that question appears within the table below. Below that is a brief explanation on how that answer was produced, plus some notes on the consequences of the results. There’s a better than 50% chance, as well, that each column can be sorted by clicking on the relevant header.

Club Odds sWS% fWS% Diff
Rays 12.54 6.5% 3.4% 3.1%
Yankees 14.13 5.8% 2.9% 2.9%
Reds 21.21 3.8% 1.2% 2.6%
Orioles 36.00 2.3% 0.6% 1.7%
Phillies 41.39 2.0% 0.5% 1.5%
Royals 31.28 2.6% 1.2% 1.4%
White Sox 71.67 1.1% 0.1% 1.0%
Cubs 81.76 1.0% 0.0% 1.0%
Brewers 76.06 1.1% 0.5% 0.6%
Twins 127.18 0.6% 0.1% 0.5%
Mets 101.96 0.8% 0.3% 0.5%
Mariners 26.24 3.1% 2.7% 0.4%
Rockies 81.76 1.0% 0.6% 0.4%
Marlins 202.89 0.4% 0.1% 0.3%
D-backs 51.48 1.6% 1.3% 0.3%
Astros 505.70 0.2% 0.0% 0.2%
Padres 64.10 1.3% 1.3% 0.0%
Braves 19.16 4.2% 4.3% -0.1%
Rangers 16.98 4.8% 5.0% -0.2%
Blue Jays 35.78 2.3% 2.7% -0.4%
Pirates 31.28 2.6% 3.1% -0.5%
Giants 26.24 3.1% 3.8% -0.7%
Dodgers 8.08 10.1% 11.4% -1.3%
Nationals 13.12 6.2% 7.7% -1.5%
Indians 48.96 1.7% 3.3% -1.6%
Athletics 21.21 3.8% 5.5% -1.7%
Angels 21.21 3.8% 5.7% -1.9%
Cardinals 11.11 7.3% 9.3% -2.0%
Red Sox 11.61 7.0% 9.8% -2.8%
Tigers 10.10 8.1% 11.5% -3.4%

What I’ve done is convert the future lines currently available at Pinnacle Sports into World Series odds by finding the break-even point for each potential bet and then removing the vigorish. The results of this process are represented above under the column marked sWS% (for Sportsbook World Series percentage).

Also present in the table are the FanGraphs World Series odds (fWS%) produced by a combination both of the Steamer and ZiPS projections, plus the playing-time estimates provided by various of our authors. The column marked Diff represents the difference between the sportsbook and FanGraphs odds, where a positive figure suggests that the sportsbook prefers the club in question; a negative figure, that the club is favored by FanGraphs’ own projections.

Some notes on what’s present here:

  • For as conservative as the FanGraphs projections might appear, the odds implied by the Pinnacle lines are actually even more greatly so. The latter figures span a range of just 9.9%; the former, 11.5%. The standard deviation for Pinnacle’s implied playoff odds is 2.6%; for FanGraphs, it’s 3.5%.
  • The club most favored by Pinnacle is the Dodgers, at about 10% to win the World Series. The Dodgers are second, according to FanGraphs’ odds calculations, at slightly greater than 11%.
  • The club least favored by the sportsbook line presently is Houston, at basically 0%. This is also the case with the FanGraphs projections — with the Cubs also featuring basically a 0% chance of winning the Series.
  • The club most favored by the sportsbook line relative to FanGraphs is Tampa Bay — somewhat surprising, I suppose, though our forecasts are somewhat down on the Rays this year.
  • The club most favored by the FanGraphs odds, meanwhile, relative to the sportsbook line is Detroit.



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Scout Cameron
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Scout Cameron

20 hot stove / business understanding. eesh.

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